A beautiful midsummer night in Manhattan. My favorite restaurant. My favorite brother. I’d just left a terribly unsuccessful job interview at my lifelong favorite company. I remember what I was wearing: a tattered, vintage, gray sharkskin suit and a brand new red paisley tie. And then this striking woman approached our table, and I lost the plot. I was spellbound. I think she was wearing an over-sized blue T-shirt, but beyond that I don’t recall anything else. It was Kate Jones. She’s the oft-photographed style queen of the Lower East Side. A jewelry designer, a blogger, and a baker of olive oil cakes, and a favorite subject of The Sartorialist and Jake Davis, she emanates a freshness, a certain cool, an effortlessness that could only have come from a life gleaning everything she could from as cultured a man as her father. Kate, thanks for sharing your dad’s ten keys to a good life.
My dad, aka George Jones (yes like the country singer) and aka Dr. Jones (yes like Indiana) is one heck of a guy. He has stitched me up twice, can fix anything on the boat — from the water maker to the fridge — is a best friend, and most recently a cancer survivor… twice! But above all, he is a pursuer of dreams. At the age of 45 he decided to change everything and move from our home in Annapolis to our 44′ sailboat, Ursa Major, waiting for us in the waters of the Caribbean. We spent 18 months in total roaming through the islands, from Antigua to Venezuela. Making for the most incredible childhood I could ever ask for and later making me an anomaly, when as a teen, all I wanted to do on the weekends was hang out with my folks. Oh, and did I mention my dad had the humor of Bill Cosby and Gene Wilder combined? Who can blame me? He taught me to cook — Indian, Szechuan, Greek, and good ol’ southern comfort food from his hometown of Memphis. He taught me about operas and symphonies — taking me whenever he could. About refinement and sophistication. About being kind. About being a lady. And mostly, about living life.
Here, in his daughter’s words, are George Jones’ Keys to a Good Life:
1. Where there’s a will there’s a way – i.e. you can take off and live on a sailboat anytime you want to
2. Be the places, the person, and the change you want to be
3. You can’t lose what you never had
4. You can’t change people
5. Work hard but play harder
6. Humor is good medicine
7. Never be afraid to make an ass of yourself, or cry
8. Always remember to tell the ones you love, that you love them
9. You only live once
And #10: French Polynesia is a beautiful place
Dad, I love you beyond words. Thank you for teaching me to believe that all of my dreams can come true if I try to live them every day.